It’s so easy to write a sad song or an angry song. For some reason, those negative emotions can fuel art like nothing else. So when I hear something different—a song that celebrates the light and happiness in another person—it catches my attention. I sit up and listen.
“In my darkest days, she is my sun. In all of the ways, Girl, you are the only one, so keep on shining.”
I love those lyrics—so simple but so full of love and joy. I’m an optimistic person, and I tend to connect with other optimistic people, the ones who are bright and warm and believe in hopeful things. I love how this song celebrates those people, and at the same time reaffirms my own inner light.
“Keep On Shining” is from Curtis Harding’s debut album, “Soul Power.” The music in this number complements Harding’s spoken sentiment perfectly. It’s got a glorious three-note riff that repeats throughout. Even when I’m not listening to the song, those three playful, good-time notes pop into my mind and get stuck there. I’m not complaining, though, because anytime they do, they cheer me up. There’s some jaunty tambourine happening that encourages serious dance moves. At the end of the chorus, a group of background male vocalists utter quick, breathy articulations. They seamlessly meld with Harding’s melody and reinforce the snappy, jivey mood.
The last chorus finishes strong with horns fleshing out the music, and the song drops to only drums and some wordless, falsetto vocals. As the last cymbal crash fades, there’s a spoken bit that perfectly sums up my sentiments about the entire song. “Right on, man.”
If you like “Keep On Shining,” you might also want to give “Surf” and “Drive My Car” by Curtis Harding a listen.